October 16, 2019
Latest News

China growth beats expectations thanks to humming factories

By James T. Areddy

Shanghai, China, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- China's economic growth held to a 6.4% growth rate in the first three months of the year as factory production picked up significantly amid signs authorities worked forcefully to stabilize output following months of weakness, according to a Dow Jones report supplied to EFE on Wednesday.

The 6.4% expansion in China's economy during the first quarter remained below 2018's 6.6% full-year rate, according to official data released Wednesday. The pace was slightly higher than what many economists expected and appeared buoyed by a powerful rebound in some key drivers. Industrial production, after an anemic start to the year, surged 8.5% in March from a year earlier. Retail sales for the quarter were stronger than expected.

While China's economy has been on a slow downtrend this past decade--weighed down by debt and excess capacity--the government has worked to arrest the slide, especially after a sharper-than-expected slowdown last year. Many economists believe China's first-quarter performance will be the year's weakest as consumer and services sectors continue to perform better than investment in fixed assets, like factories and bridges.

Beijing took tentative steps in recent months to address cash crunches at many businesses with new and targeted stimulus including tax cuts and red-tape curbs. It also gave a nod to local governments to spend on infrastructure, a partial unwinding of the central government's credit squeeze that began two years ago in an effort to arrest the buildup of debt. Money supply also picked up visibly in March, a sign of credit easing.

Trade tensions between the U.S. and China that put off some investors last year are also abating. Months of trans-Pacific negotiations to freeze or reverse some or all the punitive tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of goods the countries trade are appearing to make progress.

Bets that a deal is within reach are helping lift business confidence and underpin markets in China: the Shanghai Composite Index has gained more than 5% in April after posting a 24% gain in the first three months of 2019, its best quarter in five years. That reflects, in part, how Beijing--eager to attract cash--is allowing foreigners to invest in new ways.

Wednesday's better-than-expected readings are likely to raise further questions about government data. Many past drivers of the economy still aren't firing. Passenger auto sales fell last year for the first time since 1990 and continued to tumble in the first quarter, an indication of trouble for both manufacturers and consumers. Investment in factories, roads and other fixed assets grew 6.3% in the first three months of the year, only a slight upturn from a 6.1% rise in January and February. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts say the all-important real-estate industry is currently a neutral factor for the economy, as developers build less and homeowners nibble on existing supplies.

Consumer prices are also rising due to a virus that is spreading through the nation's pig population, devastating the supply of pork, which is a staple. Pork production was off 5.2% in the quarter. The upward price pressure and risk of higher inflation, according to the International Monetary Fund, mean Beijing should avoid spending too much on projects that might support growth.

Despite the stimulus and other support measures, China's economy is expected by economists and the government to keep slowing. Each tick down pulls the growth rate to levels not seen in nearly 30 years, when China's Tiananmen Square crackdown sent investors fleeing and sparked a two-year slump. Beijing has set a minimum growth target this year of 6% for its $13.4 trillion GDP. At that rate, the world's No. 2 economy would essentially add the annual output of Switzerland.


News history
Tesla stock has risen this month as its 3rd-quarter numbers approach

By David Marino-Nachison

Australian Navy begins sea trials of 3rd air warfare destroyer

Sydney, Australia, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Australia has begun the first phase of sea trials of its third and final Air Warfare Destroyer, the Department of...

Nissan Motor CEO steps down in the wake of bonus scandal

Tokyo, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- Hiroto Saikawa stepped down from his post as chief executive officer of Nissan Motor on Monday and has been replaced by Yasuhiro...

Trump says US is "locked and loaded" to respond to attack on Saudi oil

Washington DC, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Sunday warned that his administration was "locked and loaded" to respond to a recent...

Nissan CEO steps down over bonus scandal

Tokyo, Sep 9 (efe-epa).- Nissan Motor's CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, will step down on 16 September on the back of an investigation into over payments the executive...

Volkswagen to pay multi-million-dollar settlement over 'dieselgate' Australia

Sydney, Australia, Sep 16 (efe-epa).- German car giant Volkswagen has agreed to pay millions in compensation to those affected by its diesel emissions...

General Motors braces for first nationwide strike in 12 years

Washington DC, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The United Automobile Workers trade union on Sunday called for a nationwide strike of 48,000 employees at General Motors,...

Mexico seeks to topple Brazil's Volkswagen Guinness World Record

Puebla, Mexico, Sep 15 (efe-epa).- The Mexican state of Puebla over the weekend attempted to take the Guinness World Record for the most Volkswagen vehicles...

Argentina's gov't to present new budget amid economic woes

Buenos Aires, Sep 15 (EFE).- Finance Minister Hernan Lacunza will present the proposed 2020 budget to the Argentine Congress this week, a budget that will...

World's biggest oil producer reduces output by 50 percent after Saudi attacks

By Suleiman al-Assad

Battle to power electric vehicles reaches Sweden

By William Boston

Are central banks losing their clout?

By Randall W Forsyth

Ecotourism, the answer to Latin America's rural development needs

By Maria Jose Brenes

Havana-based cigar maker says it doesn't foresee Helms-Burton lawsuits

Havana, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Habanos S.A., a Spanish-Cuban joint venture that is a leading maker of Premium cigars, said Friday it does not believe it is at...

US pledges to increase trade with Brazil, without mentioning bilateral deal

Washington, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo promised his Brazilian counterpart here Friday that exchanges of goods and services between...

Mexicans make drinking straws from reeds to curb use of plastic

Jose de Jesus Cortes

London, Sep 13 (EFE).- The London Design Festival returns this weekend to the British capital with events and facilities bringing together the best of the...

China exempts US soy, pork products from tariffs ahead of US negotiations

By Paula Escalada Medrano.

Vaping giant Juul Labs debates pushing back on US' new ban on e-cigarettes

By Jennifer Maloney

Trump's plans for oil drilling in Arctic refuge clear big hurdle

By Timothy Puko


Washington, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that the trade war between the United States and China is already triggering a...

Argentina’s obsession with the dollar, a vicious circle amid a crisis

By Rodrigo García

New tariffs applied on Chinese imports to the US

Beijing, Sep 12 (efe-epa).- China's Customs Tariff Commission of the State Council has postponed the planned 25 percent tariffs on 16 products from the...

EU's top diplomat visits Mexico to boost trade agreement

By Eduard Ribas i Admetlla

I agree Welcome to news4europe.eu. We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.